Monday’s Glen Grant 13 was a very pleasant surprise. Here’s hoping the last whisky of the month—also from a Speyside distillery—will be in that vein. It’s from the less than storied Speyburn distillery. I wasn’t aware that they now put out an official 15 yo but apparently they do. Or at least they released one in 2017—I’m not seeing any others listed on Whiskybase. Did no more releases follow? This was put together from spirit matured in American oak and Spanish oak casks. The Spanish oak casks would be sherry casks; and though American oak is also used to make sherry casks, I’m assuming it refers here to bourbon casks—otherwise they’d be trumpeting all-sherry maturation for sure. This sample came to me from Michael Kravitz of Diving for Pearls—the source of a number of March’s other reviewed samples. He has reviewed this one too—he too reviewed a sample and then seemingly liked it enough to purchase a bottle. Will that be true for me as well? Let’s see.
Speyburn 15, 2017 Release (46%; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Starts out with a pleasant berry sweetness but then almost immediately picks up a grainy, almost astringent note. Lemon and some muskier fruit come up from below it as well on the second and third sniffs but it’s still there. A few minutes later it’s more or less gone and now it’s mostly berries and cream. A few drops of water and there’s more of the cream but that grainy note comes back as well.
Palate: Comes in with the sweet fruit here as well and then there’s pretty much the progression from the nose—though the grainy note barely registers. Decent texture and drinking strength. As it sits it develops some peppery bite and then a vegetal note emerges—not an off-note per se but it brings in a bitterness that stands apart from the other stuff. Okay, let’s add water. It emphasizes the citrus and that bitter/grainy note turns quite metallic.
Finish: Medium-long. The muskier fruit threaten to expand but doesn’t quite make it. Some sherry separation as it fades. The sherry separation eases with time but the bitter note that pops up on the palate expands here too with time. As on the palate with water.
Notes; This is drinkable enough and interesting in its own way—there are some crossovers here with older blended whiskies—but I’m not sure that there’s much here that would have me reaching for it on a regular basis. I wouldn’t turn down a pour but it’s nothing I need a bottle of.
Rating: 82 points.
Thanks to Michael for the sample.